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A for ANZAC Biscuits I How to make ANZAC Biscuits – Day 1

If you’ve read some of my recent posts from the past month you would know I’ve been taking part in a blog event called the Blogging Marathon. This month’s marathon is a Mega Blogging Marathon. A group of us have taken on the challenge to explore Bakes from Around the World..sounds easy right..the catch ..the dishes have to be in alphabetical order, and no repeating a country more than twice. Easier would have been to pick 12 countries and make 2 dishes each, but I figured this was a wonderful opportunity to explore 26 countries, where possible. The challenging part was finding dish names from A-Z. Few were very easy and few took a whole lot of browsing and reading every cook book, baking book I own!

This entailed a lot of planning and from over a month ago. Researching recipes, making a list (that got edited one too many times) and then the baking began! I’m a stickler for lists anyway so sticking to this one was easier than I thought.

So sit back and enjoy my journey for the next 26 days (barring Sundays), where I will take you around the world through baked goods..sweet and savory.

My first bake, A for ANZAC Biscuits from Australia. These are crisp delicious cookies named after the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps established during World War I. History states that wives sent these to soldiers abroad since the ingredients don’t spoil easily and these biscuits had a long shelf life. (Source: Wikipedia)

These biscuits were crisp, light and had the perfect amount of sweetness.

You will need:

½ recipe yields: 16 biscuits

Recipe adapted from here 

1.25 Cups All-purpose Flour, sifted

1 cup Rolled Oats

½ cup Caster Sugar

¾ cup Dessicated coconut

150g Unsalted Butter

2 tbsp golden Syrup * – see note

1.5 Tbsp Water

½ tsp Baking soda

Note: I didn’t have golden syrup on hand. Found a substitute that works – combine 2 tbsp Light corn syrup with 1 tbsp Molasses. Use as needed.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, rolled oats, sugar and coconut in a medium bowl. Combine baking soda and water in a separate bowl. In a small pan, heat the butter and syrup until butter has melted. Add the dissolved soda water and turn off heat. Add this to the flour mix. Combine well to make a soft dough. Roll into small balls and place on lined sheet with enough room between them. The biscuits will spread while baking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container. 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

An InLinkz Link-up

Enjoy these crunchy biscuits and munch on to the next bake.

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I for Indian Ladi Pav/Indian Dinner Rolls I How to make Ladi Pav

When I began to make a list for the Blogging Marathon, I was able to decide on a lot of dishes almost right away. A-H was a breeze and then came I. I had to use the country superlative for this one. Either it was going to be our very own India or something Irish. I picked India of course and chose to make the Indian Ladi Pav or Indian Dinner rolls. I’ve been meaning to make these for a really long time so this was the perfect time to try my hand at these.

I for INDIAN LADI PAV:

The Pav/Pao/Pau needs no introduction. It has a fairly long standing history. Read on.

History:

“ As Lizzie Collingham points out in her authoritative Curry – A Biography, the Portuguese landed in parts of India (Cochin, Goa etc) where the locals ate rice. But they missed their crusty bread, and in any case, they needed bread for Holy Communion. They could find wheat flour in Goa but yeast was hard to come by. So they started using a few drops of toddy to ferment the dough and created the various Goan breads we know today: the round gutli, the flat pav, etc.

It is from Goa that bread first travelled to Bombay and became a staple among locals. By the time British arrived with their white bread, the Portuguese-Goan pav had already been well established. And so British bread became an upmarket sort of dish, useful for making toast or sandwiches. But the food of the streets used pav, which could be sliced open to stuff an omelette into it or served alongside a spicy keema or a korma. And Bombay’s Goan community continued to use it as an alternative to rice. The first pav bhaji stalls were located near the old Cotton Exchange, because traders waited for the New York cotton prices (in the ’60s, these were carried prominently in all Bombay papers) that came in late into the night and early in the morning. But soon the pav bhaji stalls spread all over the city and by the late ’60s such restaurants as Tardeo’s Sardar Pav Bhaji were packing them in.”

Source: An article by Vir Sanghvi on foods contributed by the Portugese to Indian cuisine.

And that’s how Pav served up with bhaji in street side stalls became popular as it is to this day. Pavs are also used to make Vada pav, batter dipped potato balls deep fried and then slathered with a spicy garlic chutney and placed in between the Pav. More on the Vada Pav in another post.

 

You will need:

Recipe adapted from here:

Makes: A dozen Pavs (Dinner rolls)

2 cups All-purpose flour

1 cup Milk

1 tsp Salt

4 tsp Butter

1 ½ tbsp Milk powder

2 tsp Instant yeast

1 tbsp Sugar

Milk and Butter as needed for brushing the tops

Extra flour- for dusting

Oil for greasing pan

Warm the milk and add the yeast and sugar. Stir once and set aside for 10 minutes until foamy.

Combine all-purpose flour, salt and milk powder in a large bowl. Make a well and add the proofed yeast mix. Combine and then turn out onto a flat surface. This will be a very sticky dough. Add the butter and begin to knead. Use a bench scraper to gather the dough and knead. This process helps develop the gluten. The stickier the dough the softer the rolls will be.

 

Knead for a good 15 minutes until the dough comes together and forms a ball. It will be a soft ball, and not as sticky. Apply a little oil and place in an oiled bowl to double in size in a warm place, about an hour.

Dust your hands with flour and punch down the dough. Divide into 12 equal portions and shape into balls. Place in an oiled 8-inch square pan. Cover with a damp towel and allow to rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush the tops of the risen pav with milk and place in the oven. Bake for 15-18 minutes until tops are brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush the tops with butter.

Allow to cool and use as needed.

Freshly baked Pav is out of this world and these didn’t even last until I made a batch of bhaji. My boys enjoyed the soft rolls as is and didn’t quite need an accompaniment. I had a few with my favorite orange marmalade… mmm tasty! I’ll be sure to bake another batch very soon to have them with Bhaji.

BAKES FROM AROUND THE WORLD:

A for ANZAC BISCUITS – AUSTRALIA

B for BASBOUSA – EGYPT

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B for Basbousa I How to make Basbousa – Day 2

Basbousa is a traditional Semolina cake from Egypt. It\’s an easy no fuss cake soaked in a lightly flavored syrup. One bite and you are in cake heaven!

B FOR BASBOUSA – EGYPT

Its a light cake, not too sweet, and tastes even better when chilled.

Semolina cakes are popular in many parts of the world and there are several versions to this cake. I chose to make an Orange-cardamom flavored syrup to soak the cake in.

You will need: 
Makes:One 8-inch round cake
Recipe adapted from here:
5 tbsp unsalted Butter
1/2 cup Sugar (White, granulated)
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup Fine Semolina
1/2 cup Coarse Semolina
2 tbsp Milk
1/2 tsp Baking powder
Chopped almonds
Orange-Cardamom syrup:
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp water
Few drops orange extract

2 pods cardamom, crushed to open

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8-inch round pan.
Melt butter in the microwave and set aside.
In a medium bowl which together the sugar and yoghurt until sugar is dissolved. Add the 2 types of semolina, baking powder and milk. Whisk to combine. Add the melted butter and allow the batter to rest for 2-3 minute until the butter is absorbed.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Prepare the syrup 15 minutes into the baking time.

Combine sugar and water in a medium pan with the cardamom pods and bring to a rolling boil. Add few drops of orange extract and turn off heat. Discard cardamom pods and reserve syrup.

The cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The cake will be white when done.
Before you take it out of the oven, turn on the oven broiler to high and place cake underneath it only for a minute or two. Keep a watchful eye because the top can burn very quickly. You want a nice golden brown on the top.
Remove from oven and place pan on a cooling rack. Pour the hot syrup onto the cake while it\’s still hot. Allow to sit for at least an hour or more before slicing. Top with chopped almonds before slicing and serving.

This cake can be served at room temperature or chilled.

BAKES FROM AROUND THE WORLD:

A for ANZAC BISCUITS

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75
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German Chocolate Cake – Finger Licking Food

The first time I had a taste of this luscious intense chocolate cake was when I made it for the first time a year ago for a friend. I had always heard how good the German Chocolate Cake tasted and wanted to really know what the hype was all about. Must say it’s not hype at all and true to every word used to describe it.

I made this again for my cousin’s birthday. She and her family were visiting us earlier this month.

German chocolate cake, originally German’s chocolate cake, is a layered, chocolate cake from the United States filled and topped with a coconut-pecan frosting. It owes its name to an American chocolate maker named Sam German, who developed a formulation of dark baking chocolate that came to be used in the cake recipe. It’s a rich chocolate cake layered with a coconut-pecan frosting and frosted with chocolate icing.  Source: Wikipedia

This is one of those cakes which is a true labor of love. Takes a few hours from start to finish but well worth all the time. I used David Lebovitz’s recipe for this cake. Moist and delicious in every bite. 

German Chocolate Cake: 

Adapted from David Lebovitz’ recipe

You will need: 

For the cake:

4 oz semisweet chocolate chopped

6 tbsp water 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 ¼ cup + ¼ cup sugar

4 large eggs, separated

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

 ½ tsp salt

1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup sugar

3 large egg yolks

3 oz butter, cut into small pieces

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the syrup:

1 cup water

¾ cup sugar

For the chocolate icing: 

8 semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 tbsp light corn syrup

1 ½ oz unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

Note: I only had Semisweet chocolate on hand and used that. You can also use a combination of unsweetened, bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate. Use only baking bars and not the chocolate chips. It makes a difference in both taste and texture.

Butter two 9-inch cake pans, then line the bottoms with rounds of parchment or wax paper. Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt the chocolate with the 6 tablespoons of water. Use either a double-boiler or a microwave. Stir until smooth, then set aside until room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer,beat the butter and 1 ¼ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate, then the egg yolks, one at a time. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.Mix in half of the dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture, then the buttermilk and the vanilla extract, then the rest of the dry ingredients.

In a separate metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites until they hold soft, droopy peaks. Beat in the ¼ cup of sugar until stiff. Fold about one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until there’s no trace of egg white visible.

Divide the batter into the 2 prepared cake pans, smooth the tops, and bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake layers completely. While the cakes are baking and cooling, make the filling, syrup, and icing.

To make the filling: 

Mix the cream, sugar, and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the 3oz butter, salt, toasted coconut, and pecan pieces in a large bowl.

Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170°.) Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature. It will thicken.

To make the syrup: 

In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and water until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and cool. You could add dark rum, I didn’t since kids were going to be eating the cake too.

To make the icing: 

Place the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate in a bowl with the corn syrup and 1 ½ oz of butter. Heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Let sit until room temperature.

To assemble the cake: 

Remove the cake layers from the pans and cut both cake layers in half horizontally, using a serrated bread knife. Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush well with syrup. Spread ¾ cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top.

Repeat, using the syrup to brush each cake layer, then spreading ¾ cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, use all of it. It may seem like a lot but trust me it’s necessary 🙂

The assembled cake can be chilled if needed. Bring to room temperature before cutting and serving. Left overs can be refrigerated in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

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Facts & Trail Map

echomountainpark

THE CLOSEST
How close? Just 35 miles from downtown, Echo Mountain is Denver’s backyard ski and snowboard area. So skip I-70, long lift lines and huge crowds, and you’ll be skiing or snowboarding in less than an hour from just about anywhere along Denver’s Front Range. Get directions.

A GREAT VALUE
Echo Mountain daily lift tickets are good for 12 hours of skiing and snowboarding every Monday and Wednesday through Saturday. Long after the bigger resorts have called it a day, Echo Mountain glows with lights five nights a week. And here’s more:

• Unlimited season ski and snowboard passes for winter sports enthusiasts of all ages. No restrictions. No blackout dates.
• FREE close-in parking and WiFi
• Affordable Ski & Ride School lesson packages
• Westword’s 2009 “Best Ski Deal”

NEW THIS SEASON
• Expanded beginner terrain and multi-week youth lesson programs
• New and innovative park features throughout the mountain
• Monday night “Under the Lights” race league
• Lil’ Rippers Snowboard Experience for Echo’s littlest riders

CATCH THE ECHODEMIC!
Learn what the locals know and love – at Echo Mountain, we’re all about the skiing and snowboarding!

• Unique atmosphere and contemporary facilities
• Terrain and features for all ages and abilities
• Killer mountain views from the outdoor plaza
• There’s something for EVERYONE at Echo Mountain!

ECHO FACTS
Elevation (Lodge): 10,500′
Vertical Drop: 660′
Lifts: Milk Run Special (fixed-grip triple), Thumper (Magic Carpet surface lift) and Frog Legs (handle-tow surface lift)
Trails: 16
Terrain Parks: Absolutely
Features: Many
Average Snowfall: 220″
Ski/Ride Season: early December through early May

echomountainpark TRAIL MAP

echomountainpark

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Hours of Operation

2010/11 SEASON DAYS AND HOURS OF OPERATION

Opening Day December 1, 2010
Closing Day May 1, 2011

9am to 9pm MON & WED-SAT
9am to 4pm SUN
Closed most Tuesdays, except holiday hours noted below.

Echo Mountain will be OPEN from 9am to 4pm on the following Tuesdays:

March 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Days and hours of operation are subject to change as conditions permit.

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